Happy Ending Override

The Big Bad to end all Big Bads has been brought to a crushing end at the hands of The Hero, his Ragtag Bunch of Misfits and his trademark BFS. The Negative Space Wedgie that was threatening all of creation has been un-wedgied, the Sealed Evil in a Can has been safely disposed of, all the plot threads that were left hanging have been wrapped up nice and neat and everybody lives Happily Ever After.

And then the sequel happens.

It's inevitable: you can't have a story without conflict and chaos, and you can't have a sequel set in a world that we last saw happy and peaceful without dropping a new horrible menace in the thick of things and letting him/her/it run amok. This, however, is taking things far beyond simple Status Quo Is God. We leave an idyllic paradise and come back to a Crapsack World: the Golden Age has rusted over, chivalry has been stabbed in the back, the peaceful kingdom has transformed into an evil empire and everything that our protagonists fought so hard to save has been pillaged and murdered by time and writers. The shaggy dog was shot while we weren't looking. The world is not only substantially worse off than it was when we last saw it, it's worse off than it was when the story began.

This is the part where our heroes (assuming they're not dead, incapacitated or turned evil) fall to their knees and deliver their best Zero impression: "What were we fighting for?"

Full-Circle Revolution and Cartwright Curse are typical means to this effect.

Likely to result in Fanon Discontinuity, if not Canon Discontinuity. Worst-case scenario is the death of the franchise. Contrast Was It Really Worth It?, where the characters are made to feel the cost (usually personal) of their victory before the story ends, but the good which results is usually lasting.

For inversions, see Belated Happy Ending. Not to be confused with Your Princess Is in Another Castle, where not only is the ending unhappy, but it isn't actually an ending at all. Or Tastes Like Diabetes, which is more like Happy Ending Overload.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Defied in Crossbone Gundam The Steel Seven. Kincade (aka Seabook) retired from war after the original manga, and he and Cecily settled down in peace. When another threat to Earth is revealed, Tobia initially considers going to him to get his help as a pilot... but decides against it seeing how happy Seabook is, and Tobia can't bring himself to interrupt that.
  • Eureka Seven AO, shows that Eureka and Renton's child is abandoned in another dimension. It's later revealed that Correlion/Human babies can't survive because of high levels of Trapar.
  • Gall Force Earth Chapter ends with the heroes stopping GORN, the world saved and mankind, while in for a long time to rebuild, has a bright future ahead. Gall Force New Era revealed GORN survived in Data form, managed to infect the entire network of All of Mankind's terrority, and proceed Kill Off the Entire Human Race, save for Six women who managed to get lead to safety and launched into space.
  • A very...odd example in Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie: Rebellion. Kyubey has turned Homura into a witch and trapped the others in her labyrinth, so that he can try to undo Madoka's wish. He fails, only for someone else to undo Madoka's wish: HOMURA, who absorbs/suppresses Madoka's goddess powers and becomes Lucifer, erases the other girls' memories, and then proceeds to remake reality in her own image. To be fair, the ending she puts in place has all five girls (and newcomer Nagisa) alive, with only her and Kyubey really getting the short end of the stick: Homura because she feels unworthy of Madoka's friendship after betraying her, and Kyubey due to being stuffed with all of the curses he had laid on Magical Girls throughout history. So basically, she overrode a happy ending to put a HAPPIER ending in place: it's very contentious among fans, as some see the new ending as happier, others less so.
  • Queen's Blade sees this happen in the Rebellion series, where the victorious Leina hands the mantle of Queen to her sister, Claudette, who goes on to make many reforms as Leina happily retires. The key sticking point is that the Swamp Witch is still free at the end of the first series, and she continues to expand her poisoned domain, starts cursing all of the old heroines to put them out of commission entirely or limit their fighting ability, and corrupts Claudette into a Well-Intentioned Extremist Knight Templar who rules with an iron fist, making the "Rebellion" necessary.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: Part of the reason the titular hero became The Atoner was that he could no longer ignore the fact that he was killing people regardless of how good the motives were. Being indirectly responsible for the death of the woman he loved was the metaphorical last straw. Each major fight afterward, Kenshin speechifies about what he was fighting for, and it takes a Heroic BSOD for him to realize that he can only fight for his own personal peace of mind. The Seisouhen OVA then goes on to erase all of that Character Development and have Kenshin still so wracked by guilt that he abandons his family to go Walking the Earth again; it's not until the very end that he returns, only to die in Kaoru's arms, and she dies moments later because he's infected her too. Mind you, Yahiko has taken up Kenshin's mantle, and his son Kenji eventually comes around to the same point of view, but there's a reason most fans and Nobuhiro Watsuki himself, who didn't write it, deny Seisouhen's existence.
  • Turn A Gundam ends up being this, despite its anti-war message being one of the best-executed in all of Gundam. Because the Black History consists of all Gundam works excluding Gundam Reconguista In G, almost every single Gundam work is doomed to end in conflict and destruction of the world over the course of millenia. For one Gundam work to exist, the previous must have ended in failure for the protagonists. Ironically, one could argue that Turn A itself succumbs to this as it must end in setting up the Reguild Century.

    Comicbooks 
  • The final issue of Warren Ellis' run on Doom 2099 saw Doom about to realize his goal of creating a utopia by releasing thought-controlled Nanomachines that would give people whatever they wanted for free. The first three words in the next issue are "it didn't work".
  • Crisis on Infinite Earths ended with a Bittersweet Ending for Superboy Prime, who after his Earth was destroyed was sent with other beings in an interdimensional heaven where he could spend the rest of his days. Come Infinite Crisis, he came back, made a Face–Heel Turn, and has since become one of the DC Universe's most infamous Villain Sues.
  • The Toxin mini-series ended with Patrick Mulligan finally coming in terms with being a symbiot-wearing superhero, coming back to his wife after leaving her behind to protect her for the entire series and telling her the truth about him. Then the writers had Patrick killed offscreen by Blackheart so they could give his symbiote to Eddie Brock and make a new opponent for Flash Thompson as Agent Venom.
  • The original Hack Slash series ended with protagonist Cassie Hack moving on with her life, putting an end to her Serial-Killer Killer activities and getting together with her Love Interest Georgia to build a new life as a "normal" person. Comes the sequel Son of Samhain, she ends up breaking up with Georgia because "normal" life just wasn't interesting enough for her, and gets back to hunting monsters.
  • The Grendel "War Child" arc ended with Jupiter Assante becoming Khan and seemingly likely to rule relatively justly, even if authoritarianly and in a world with a Might Makes Right attitude. The next work in the sequence, the prose novel Past Prime, reveals that Jupiter was murdered by his own wife on his wedding night and that his empire has collapsed into a feudal quasi-anarchy plagued by self-servingly violent Grendel clans and wandering psychos.

    Fan Works 
  • "Flaihhsam s'Spahkh" has a throwaway mention that Ael t'Rllaillieu from the Rihannsu novels was assassinated at some point after becoming Empress of the Romulan Star Empire in the last book, which probably explains why her friendship with Kirk and the Enterprise crew hadn't led to a long-term thaw in relations with the Federation by Star Trek: The Next Generation.

    Film 
  • Very frequent with Slasher Movies that didn't already end with a Cruel Twist Ending. Most notable is Friday the 13th, where the Final Girl of the first movie is killed right at the beginning of the second opus.
  • 28 Days Later: Jim, Selena and Hannah all survive the zombie apocalypse and move to a safe area while the Infected from Britain starve to death and makes it safe once again. They are eventually spotted by a plane and rescued. Then, Twenty Eight Weeks Later causes another infection outbreak due to an Idiot Plot, this time possibly worldwide. Meanwhile, a comic series starring one of the survivors from the first movie reveals another survivor has been sentenced to death.
  • Childs Play. The first three movies play the trope straight, as both the first and second movies end with protagonist Andy successfully killing Chucky and moving on, only for the Killer Doll to come back from the dead by the next opus, where it's always revealed Andy's life only got worse in the mid-time. Andy is then Put on a Bus for the next two movies, but then brought back in the sixth one, where the trope gets spectacularly subverted: Andy's situation finally got better (he reunited with his mother and lives a normal life), and when Chucky does find him again, he expects his arrival and welcomes him with a shotgun.
  • This hits the Alien franchise on two separate occasions.
    • The transition from Aliens to Alienł, in which Hicks, Bishop, and Newt, the three that Ripley fought tooth and nail to save in the previous movie, are killed off-screen before the opening credits. Bishop technically survives, but he's damaged beyond repair and permanently turned off by Ripley. James Cameron was horrified that the survivors from his film died horribly instead of being able to start a family (with the exception of Ripley), and the author hired to write novelizations for the series went so far as to call this twist "obscene". Then Alien: Resurrection completely negates Ripley's Heroic Sacrifice by putting alien DNA into the hands of another Corrupt Corporation.
    • Notably, the Dark Horse comic series ignores the twist, keeping Newt and Hicks alive. Only for things to get worse.
    • The first sequel is somewhat of an example, Ripley had destroyed the monster and escaped in a pod in the first film, but in Aliens she discovered that her ship wandered without a destination and she stayed in hypersleep for several decades.
  • Happens to James Cameron again in the Terminator series. After our heroes Screw Destiny and avert Judgment Day in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines insists that You Can't Fight Fate and Judgment Day has to happen after all to fix those Stable Time Loops and Temporal Paradoxes.
  • TRON: Yay! Master Control was destroyed, Dillinger was busted, the Programs are free again, and Flynn's not only got his job back, he's the guy in charge! He wraps his arms around Lora and Alan and off they go into the sunset... TRON: Legacy opens, and Encom's back to being run by crooks, with Alan as the Only Sane Man in the room. Lora's nowhere to be seen (Expanded Universe material says she was Put on a Bus, which is actually nicer than her fate in the other sequel; the actress is trying to fix this). Meanwhile, Flynn's trapped by his own creation, has been fighting a Hopeless War for the equivalent of centuries, and has had to watch the genocide of an entire species. And just to frost the cake? The title character made an attempt at Heroic Sacrifice that turned into a Fate Worse Than Death. Suddenly, the first film doesn't seem like such cheery Disney fare. Worse, TRON: Legacy veers incredibly close to a full-blown Downer Ending since over 2/3 of the characters are dead and most of the other 1/3 have dim survival odds at best The only bright spot at the end of TRON: Legacy is that Sam and Quorra manage to escape alive.
    • The discredited Tron 2.0 is Lighter and Softer, but not by much; the comic establishes that Flynn apparently went nuts and vanished, Lora was killed by an accident in the laser lab with the part of her remaining in the system compiled into Ma3a, Alan has been exiled to a lab in the basement instead of a token position in the boardroom, Encom is on such shaky ground that a shady fly-by-night like F-Con can swoop in and buy them out, and Tron's fate is explicitly stated to be "unknown."
  • Shanghai Noon ended with the heroes each getting the girl, becoming rich and both getting respected jobs as sheriffs. By the second film, the girls were gone, the money had been lost in a poor investment and while Roy had already left his job and become a waiter, Chon had to leave it in order to follow the plot of the next film.
  • Men in Black: Agent K passes the torch to Agent J and moves on to a well-earned retirement with the wife he hasn't seen in decades, J forms a new partnership with L, and everybody wins! Then MIB2 comes along and decides to completely rehash the original, so L breaks up with J and goes back to her old life (offscreen), leading J to reactivate K (because being Neuralized is reversible now), which is okay because K's girl left him too, so he's miserable and bored. Yay?
  • Happens in the Star Wars: Ewok Adventures of all movies. Caravan of Courage had a teenage boy and his younger sister team up with some teddy bears to rescue their parents from a giant. Within the first few minutes of Battle for Endor all the humans except the little girl are killed by Space Pirates, who go on to slaughter or enslave all but one of the Ewoks.
  • Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country ends on a high (if bittersweet) note, with our heroes, including Captain Kirk, heading towards retirement after saving the Federation and the galaxy yet again. Then Star Trek: Generations happens, and Kirk first gets chucked out of the Enterprise-B's hull into the Nexus, and then proceeds to be the victim of Dropped a Bridge on Him when he comes out to stop the Mad Scientist Soran from blowing up a sun in order to get into the Nexus.
  • Ghostbusters ends with the titular team defeating an ancient Sumerian deity, sending it back where it came from, and being hailed as heroes by a grateful city (and, we imagine, world). The sequel opens up five years later with their reputation in shambles, the partnership dissolved, a court order preventing them from offering their services, and some of them even being so desperate that they have taken to performing at birthday parties. Peter and Dana broke up too. Fortunately, the happy ending of that movie seems to stick, as the video game (which is considered canon) shows them still active a few years later, and the current mayoral administration having very Ghostbuster-friendly policies. It's one of the few that is a logical extension of the ending, however. The team eliminated all of the ghosts by defeating Gozan. No ghosts, no job.
  • Kick-Ass 2 has the protagonist being dumped by his girlfriend (after she reveals she was cheating on him), Hit Girl having trouble fitting in at school, and a new villain making their lives even worse.
  • The Blues Brothers ended with Elwood and Jake barely managing to save the orphanage before being arrested. At the beginning of Blues Brothers 2000, Elwood discovers that the orphanage has been demolished and Jake died offscreen before the movie begins.
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon had the Autobots emerge triumphant as seemingly all the Decepticons (including Megatron, Starscream and even the long-absent Barricade) are killed. Transformers: Age of Extinction begins four years later, during which time humanity has turned on the Autobots and are now hunting them down to kill them. Oh, and their remains are used to create new Transformers controlled by humans. Including Megatron, who, as it turns out, is still alive.
    • That series has a Happy Ending Override for at least one major plot point in every single movie. At the end of the first film Megatron is killed; gets resurrected in the next one. Part of Sam's character arc in the second film is his refusal to tell Mikaela he loves her, but he finally does at the end. She dumps him between films. The third film shows that the Autobot/human alliance is necessary and beneficial, and the Autobots are here to stay. Fourth film: Autobots being wiped out by humans. If something good happens in a movie, expect it to be completely undone by the next one.
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past: The cautious optimism that Professor X carried at the end of X-Men: First Class turned out to be short-lived. After just one semester, conscription for the Vietnam War forces Charles Xavier to close his school, which serves as the last straw that broke the camel's back. Losing his sense of purpose exacerbates the traumas he has experienced during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and he soon becomes a drug-addled recluse.
  • Mortal Kombat: Annihilation not only completely invalidates our heroes' victory at the end of the first movie by having Shao Kahn invade Earth anyway despite the tournament being won (a result of Shinnok, the true Big Bad, manipulating things from behind the scenes), it also robs Raiden of his godly powers and brutally murders Johnny Cage in the first three minutes of the film.
  • In Muppets Most Wanted, all those millions of Muppet fans that appeared at the end of The Muppets to lend their support to the gang in their time of need?
    Rowlf: Actually, those were extras.
    Fozzie: I saw a few tapping their toes.
    Scooter: Yeah, those were paid dancers.
    Fozzie: ...Oh.
  • The Force Awakens:
    • Much like the Star Wars Expanded Universe, The Empire has maintained a holdout for decades, rather than totally collapsing as the end of Return of the Jedi implied. However, a significant part was successfully liberated and formed a new Republic, which supports the still-necessary Rebel Alliance. Until the new Republic is at best utterly devastated and at worst annihilated during the events of the film.
    • Luke's attempt at resurrecting the Jedi Order ended in total disaster when his nephew turned to the Dark Side and killed all the other apprentices. After several decades he is still the last Jedi, and has retreated into unknown space.
    • Han and Leia's ending. Not only do they lose their son to the Dark Side, devastating their relationship and sending them back to what is comfortable: Leia leading a resistance against the holdouts of the Empire and Han back to smuggling, but it is overridden further when their son completes his fall by killing Han.
  • The ending of the original Kick Boxer has the hero avenge his brother's death by beating the bully Tong Po and the film ends on a happy note. The beginning of Kick Boxer 2 has Tong Po murder the hero in cold blood, setting up the revenge story for the next younger brother. This wasn't the original script, but they changed it because the first film's star, Jean-Claude Van Damme, refused to return for the sequel.
  • Paul Blart: Mall Cop. The first movie ended with Paul a hero and getting married to his Love Interest, Amy. The sequel opens with the reveal that Amy filed for a divorce less than a week later for unexplained reasons, and to make matters worse, a short time after that his mother gets hit by milk truck one morning while getting the paper. At least Paul finds someone else (who's also a security guard) and Maya gets to go to her dream college at the end.
  • This happened (albeit with more subtlety than usual) in the course of Tim Burton's two Batman films. True, the 1989 original didn't exactly end with the cast singing "Smile, Darn Ya, Smile"...but things wrapped up about as well as they possibly could in such a dark franchise: Gotham City was saved and Batman got his revenge. But Batman Returns shows us early on that Bruce Wayne was still unhappy, his revenge didn't satisfy him, and if anything the experience had left him even more brutal and bloodthirsty. And then he's framed for the murder of an innocent, causing everyone to hate him again (and we never do see Batman being officially exonerated, despite the actual killer being punished by Batman himself). Batman Forever (with which Burton was only peripherally involved) managed to un-undo everything, having Batman finally overcome his anger at seeing his parents murdered and being respected by the people of Gotham once again. Of course, almost everyone agreed that the follow-up to that, Batman & Robin, was a little too happy.

    Literature 
  • In the old pre-Disney-takeover Star Wars expanded universe, following the defeat of the Emperor, over the course of several decades we get repeated Imperial counterattacks, Palpatine returning and converting Luke to the Dark Side, a race of freaky humanoids invading and ravaging the Galaxy (and killing Chewbacca), and most of Han and Leia's children dying or going to the Dark Side. This all comes to a head with the Legacy comics, which have (a somewhat more Federation-like) Empire back on top 130 years after the films. Even the Sith are still a lurking threat.
    • On a smaller scale, the Del Rey novels can be considered this for the previous books published by Bantam. The Bantam novels ended with peace actually being made between the Republic and Empire, and the sane Admiral Pellaeon taking control of the latter after a long succession of evil kooks. When Del Rey got the rights, however, they promptly revealed the Yuuzhan Vong, an Outside-Context Villain arguably even worse than the Empire, and had a number of Bantam-era characters (and even some movie characters) reduced to cannon fodder or turned evil. Timothy Zahn, the best-regarded Bantam writer, has criticized Del Rey for doing this.
  • Happens in the second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant series, though at least it is made fairly clear in the first one the Big Bad cannot be technically killed. Even so it was a kick in the gut, though not a surprise given the nature of the series.
  • The first Sword of Truth book has the Seeker fight to defeat the evil tyrant Darken Rahl. When he finally succeeds, a new crisis even worse than Rahl's tyranny takes place in the second book. Eventually, Richard discovers that The Empire he fought against in the first book is nothing compared to the Imperial Order, a massive empire that has somehow remained unknown to everyone within the New World, despite it being right next door.
  • In Warrior Cats, the first arc ends on a pure happy ending. The sequel has humans tear down the forest which the story is set in and reveals that the villain is still hanging around from beyond the grave.
  • Though the first book of the Never Again series has only a Bittersweet Ending, it still qualifies for this trope, because it ends with the heroes succeeding in democratizing the world, albeit at the cost of their lives. The Distant Finale clearly implies that they succeeded. However, all of that is ignored in the second book, in which it is revealed that somehow one dictatorship still survived John and Joy's changes to history, and was able to start a nuclear war, Take Over the World, and cause more deaths than all the wars, democides, and dictatorships of the Real-Life twentieth century combined. And all this just to set up a Continuity Reboot.
  • In The Chronicles of Narnia, the heroes leave Narnia restored and happy in the first book, and come back in the second to a later Narnia where everything's even worse than it was before; the winter may be gone, but many Talking Animals have ceased to talk and much of the magic has begun to go away under the reign of the Telmarines. Of course, that's because time in Narnia flows as quickly relative to time on Earth as it needs to, and Aslan calls the children from England at a point when it would be most beneficial to their personal development, and he sends them to Narnia at a point when it needs them.
  • In Starchild trilogy by Frederik Pohl and Jack Williamson the humanity controlled by a totalitarian Plan of Man which is ruled by a supercomputer called the Machine. It's implied however that this is the only way to survive for an enormous population whose expansion is restricted by limitations of ion engines. At the end of the first book the protagonist invents "reactionless drives" and the Machine declares that harsh control is no longer required. However in the second book this decision of the Machine is completely forgotten... May be justified because the events of the first book showed that high-ranking officials of the Plan can influence on the decisions of the Machine and may not be interested in the change.
  • Troubling A Star by Madeleine L'Engle brings back the fictional country of Vespugia from A Swiftly Tilting Planet and reveals that the events of the latter book only delayed the country's dictatorial government from coming to power by about 10 or 15 years, rather than averting it entirely.
  • The book Holes ends with the juvenile detention facility Camp Green Lake being closed, and turned into a Girl Scout camp. In the companion book Stanley Yelnats's Guide To Surviving Camp Green Lake, the detention has been reopened, because several state officials read Holes and thought "What a great idea!" Even the original staff gets put back in charge, despite being under investigation, and one even arrested.
  • The Witcher: The Last Wish's section "A Question of Price" ends on a high note, with Queen Calanthe of Cintra marrying Eist Tuiseach, king of Skellige, and her daughter Princess Pavetta marrying her true love Duny, while already pregnant with Duny's child. In the several-year interval between The Last Wish and Blood of Elves, Pavetta and Duny are lost at sea, and Cintra is brutally conquered by the invading Nilfgaardians and Calanthe and Eist Tuiseach are killed. However, Pavetta and Duny's daughter Cirella survives and escapes, and is eventually picked up by Geralt.
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone ends with Harry feeling well after defeating evil, and being hopeful his powers will lead to less bullying at home. The next book opens by showing his guardians are still as unpleasant to him as ever, if not more.
  • The Paw Thing by Paul Jennings ends with Singenpoo the cat chasing over a hundred mice out of her owner's chicken shop. The owner is so grateful he vows to stop treating her so badly. In the sequel Singenpoo Strikes Again, we find out that this change stuck for about a week or two and the owner is just as cruel as he was before, to the point of denying that Singenpoo had anything to do with saving his business.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Between the first and second season of Heroes, Matt Parkman's forgiveness of his wife and the happy reunion of Niki with DL were both undone. So was Sylar's death, but this had been heavily implied to begin with.
  • 24:
    • The series did this for Tony Almeida. During the third season, Tony was forced into some tough choices that saw him lose everything: he was stripped of his job, his wife Michelle left him, and even wound up briefly being jailed. Season four then went about giving him personal redemption, helping Jack Bauer stop a terrorist threat that ultimately saw a nuclear missile nearly hit L.A., and by the time it was over he'd managed to get his life back in order and get back together with Michelle. So what does season 5 proceed to do? Within the first 15 minutes of the premiere she's killed by a car bomb as part of the antagonists of that Day's plot, leading him to lose it for the rest of the series and eventually sink so low that in a Roaring Rampage of Revenge to avenge her death winds up working with terrorists. Yeah. Definitely made the fourth season's happy ending a moot point there.
    • The show revealed more than once that Jack had been living happily in the time between seasons and then proceed to rip that apart. Between seasons 3 and 4 he's been working for the Department of Defense and dating his boss's daughter Audrey, but at the end he's forced to fake his death because of a bungled invasion of the Chinese Embassy. Redemption disrupts his quiet life as an aid worker in the African nation of Sangala. Season 8 reveals that he fully recovered from his near death at the end of the previous season, has reconciled with Kim and plans to move from New York to LA to be close to her and her daughter and husband, but he ends up a fugitive wanted by both the American and Russian Governments.
  • Mixed together with Sequel Reboot with the season five premier of Community: the fourth season ended optimistically with Jeff and Pierce graduating in the Fall semester, Shirley's business getting off the ground, Annie picking a major in criminology, and Chang deciding to stay friends with the group as "Kevin". Fast-forward to the next Fall, where Jeff's newly found scruples lead his career as an attorney to ruins, Shirley's entire family left her because she lost their savings on her failed business, Annie has gotten as job as a sales rep for the same prescription drugs that lead to her breakdown, none of the rest of the group are having any more success, and Chang is on work release for arson. The group decides they still need to learn more, but Greendale is the only place they can go to, while Jeff takes a job as a teacher to get by while he tries to get it in some form of working order.
  • Defied when it comes to Kamen Rider Kuuga. Kamen Rider Agito was originally supposed to be a sequel series, but Kuuga's writers vetoed it on the grounds it'd have made Kuuga's battles meaningless. As a result, while there's some suggestion it's a sequel, it's primarily intended as an alternate universe.
  • Code Lyoko ended with XANA defeated and the Lyoko-Warriors shutting down the Supercomputer before moving on with their life. The very first episode of the live-action sequel Code Lyoko: Evolution reveals XANA survived by turning the Lyoko-Warriors into his Soul Jars, forcing them to reactivate Lyoko and get back to fighting him.
  • Zordon's sacrifice in the finale of Power Rangers in Space goes from destroying all evil in the universe to merely Dark Specter and his forces (Rita, Lord Zedd, the Machine Empire, Divatox, and Astronema). Otherwise Power Rangers Lost Galaxy (and all subsequent series) couldn't happen.
  • Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, which is an Alternate Timeline to Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, similarly revealed that Sarah's hopes that Terminator 2: Judgment Day had averted Skynet were false. The overall tone of the series, however, was more positive than the third film, with the revelation that there is a second Machine faction opposing Skynet who might ally with humanity and the overall implication that it might be possible to somehow alter the future to avert war between humans and AIs without preventing the creation of the latter.
  • Between Series 6 and Series 7 of Doctor Who, Amy and Rory go from Happily Married with Amy completely in awe of Rory's strength and nobility, to divorced and antagonistic. The reason given is that Amy was made infertile as a result of her abuse in the finale of Series 6 and she knew Rory wanted kids so she "gave him up." By the end of the season 7 premiere, they're back together since Rory (predictably) wants Amy more than biological kids.
  • Star Trek: In the Original Series episode "Mirror, Mirror", Kirk convinces the Spock of an alternate universe (in which the Federation is The Empire) to work for peace. In Deep Space Nine, that world is revisited, and it turns out that Spock took Kirk's advice, and succeeded... leading to the destruction of the Empire by its enemies. Humans, and presumably Vulcans, are now slaves. Word Of God is that the episode was specifically intended to mock Kirk by changing Kirk's triumph in "Mirror, Mirror" into a bitter failure, thereby vilifying Kirk as the man singularly responsible for ruining the lives of all humanity in another universe. Later episodes in the mirror universe de-emphasized (or ignored altogether) this motive, making it more of a standard rebellion-against-alien-oppressors situation.

    Music 
  • In aha's music video to "The Sun Always Shines on TV", the video starts with the character from their "Take On Me" video turning back into a drawing and disappearing while the girl watches helplessly.
  • Greg Champion's "I Made a Hundred in the Backyard at Mum's" ends on a triumphant note with the narrator making a hundred. The P.O.V. Sequel, "I Hit that Wicket" by Ian Macnamara immediately reveals that he was bowled out by his brother, who seemingly got all the glory for breaking his streak.

    Video Games 
  • Zero of Mega Man X fame gets his own series where despite all the sacrifices, things get worse.
  • Dot Hack GU seems to have been engineered for the sole purpose of trolling fans of the original series, either as a Player Punch or a colossal This Loser Is You to anyone who accepted its message of "AI are people too" at face value. The World that we left happy, peaceful and safe in the first series has been completely destroyed by a madman (who personally killed a plot-important AI character from the original series in backstory), Player Killers rule the landscape of the Darker and Edgier The World R:2, all of our previous heroes are too busy with real life to do anything about the situation, protagonist Haseo turns out to have been that childish jackass Sora from R:1 all along...and in the end, the bastard responsible gets neither mention nor punishment.
  • Chrono Trigger is the tale of a time-traveling Ragtag Bunch of Misfits who adventure across history and prevent a world-eating parasite called Lavos from destroying the world in 1999 AD. Chrono Cross is the tale of a boy muddling through the fallout from those changes to history, which includes but is not limited to: a timeline split in two, Porre growing from a minor town into an imperial power that sacked The Kingdom the original heroes lived in, the Reptite Future from a joke ending showing up for revenge, the heavily implied deaths of the previous protagonists, and on top of all this Lavos, or a piece of him anyway, is still alive. This makes Cross a Contested Sequel by some fans, who wished the happy ending from Trigger wasn't so harshly undone.
  • In Gears of War 2, we first discover that not only has the Lightmass Bomb, which was dropped in the heart of the Locust's underground hive network at the close of the last game, failed to destroy the Locust, but that they have since redoubled their efforts (later revealed to be in desperation), and mankind has been forced back to their last bastion of defense, Jacinto. Not only that, but the Locust now have a method of sinking entire cities. At the end of the game, the heroes are forced to sink Jacinto in order to flood the underground networks and hopefully take out the Locust once and for all.
  • The Jak and Daxter series does this with the second and third games. We leave the first game with our heroes triumphant over the Card Carrying Villains and about to embark on a new journey into the unknown. Then in the first few minutes of the second game we discover that their journey into the unknown takes them Twenty Minutes into the Future, where the idyllic natural paradise has become a Cyber Punk Crapsack World ruled by an iron-fisted dictator and under siege from a seemingly endless swarm of monsters called "Metalheads." The villains from the first game seem rather pleasant by comparison (hell, the mooks from the first game have been turned into pets by Haven's Apathetic Citizens). Then after completing the game and bringing peace to Haven City, we open Jak 3 to find that the city has been nearly destroyed and Jak and Daxter exiled to the wastelands.
  • Diablo:
  • Left 4 Dead:
    • Almost fell into this trope by having the first campaign lead to the second one, as the helicopter pilot would have been revealed to be infected. However, the developers found out it was not a satisfactory ending, and made the four campaigns completely separate instead... before changing their minds again and releasing a mini-campaign that links the original first and second with exactly that justification. And then they use it again in Left 4 Dead 2, to set up the third (now the fourth) campaign.
    • The ending to the first game managed to do this to both games after trying to tie the narratives together. At the end of the last campaign of the first game, your team is finally rescued by the military. Not some random pilot or civilian with a gun, but the ones who knows what they're doing and are backed by armored vehicles and real weapons. Then in the tie-in comic everything goes to hell as it turns out the military doesn't know what they're doing, and on top of that all of the protagonists are carriers — asymptomatic carriers of the virus that are unintentionally spreading the infection to everyone they've come across. And the military do not like carriers. The comic managed to conclude that the original game's protagonists do manage to earn a new happy ending (although not without some costs) by moving to a remote island where they can't infect anyone, but the second game ends with the four new guys happily rescued by the military...
  • In the original Geneforge, the best ending has you destroying the Geneforge and saving the world from its menace. In the sequel, we find that Zakary and Barzahl, two characters sent to clean up after the fact, thought that it would be a shame to let such a marvel of science vanish from existence, and decided to rebuild it in another isolated area. The third game ramps it up that no matter what you did (except for one Take a Third Option faction ending of the second), your actions did nothing to stop the Drakons' rise. The fourth game averts this by stating that the Rebel Ending of the third game is canon. The fifth game also qualifies—the Unbound, released in the fourth game to destroy the Shapers, have succeeded only in causing massive collateral damage, and it's up to a new main character to resolve the conflict. Which may fit with one of the hidden factions' endings of the fourth game.
    • Each Geneforge tends to assume a particular outcome from the previous game, but it's usually not any of the (many) actually available endings. It's often a blend of a few with some more things that aren't from any of the endings added in. Then this is all made even stranger by the fact that the role and fate of the player character from previous games is alluded to but never clarified; by the fifth game, this leads to some impressive Wild Mass Guessing about the protagonist's identity.
    • The ending to the first Geneforge hints at the fact that destroying the Geneforge and dealing with the rebellion on the island isn't going to permanently fix everything, since it ends with the quote that "you cannot unring a bell."
  • Final Fantasy XIII-2. At the end of the first game, Lightning and friends managed to Take a Third Option and defeat the Jerkass Gods without totally destroying the world, Serah returns to normal and Lightning approves of her marriage to Snow. Then the sequel reveals that Lightning disappeared due to Time Paradox shortly afterwards, and Snow left to look for her, leaving Serah alone. A time traveler from the future arrives and reveals that he's the last of humanity living After the End. Furthermore that crystal pillar holding up Cocoon won't hold out forever, and then, well...
  • After the Belated Happy Ending of Final Fantasy X-2, this came in full force with the Final Fantasy X-2.5 ~Eien no Daishou novella and Final Fantasy X -Will- audio drama written by Kazuhige Nojima. Tidus dies (again) while he and Yuna are shipwrecked on a unknown island, and though Yuna is able to bring him back from the Farplane, it's implied Tidus may have not returned fully intact. And the Farplane has become unstable, causing the dead to return to life. That means Sin is along for the ride, too, possibly willed back to Spira because of an unknown party's desires. Sin, the aforementioned Eldritch Abomination whose thousand-year cycle of suffering and Senseless Sacrifices only ended because of Tidus' Heroic Sacrifice. And Yuna calls off her relationship with Tidus because of petty jealousy over one of his friends, in spite of their romance being a pivotal part of the last two games.
  • This is the main theme of Knights of the Old Republic II. The first game ended on a high note, with your Player Character being victorious (either as Republic hero or a Sith lord, depending on alignment). The writer of the sequel read all of the Expanded Universe and concluded that most of EU canon is this trope with characters fighting the same war between a Sith-backed Empire and Jedi-backed Republic over thousands of years. The second game starts with a Crapsack Galaxy that's still devastated by war, hates Jedi and Sith equally, and the Player Character is one of the only Jedi left alive. The Big Bad critiques both sides as short-sighted extremists who rely on the Force too much, and her goal is to destroy the Force itself to stop the cycle. (Unsurprisingly, this is a Contested Sequel by those who see it as a spiteful Take That against the franchise.)
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic goes further. Not that the second game had happiness to override (it got a Gainax Ending instead thanks to a rushed deadline), but it nullifies every accomplishment from both games. The Exile walks into an obvious trap and gets killed, and the first game's Player Character has been tortured for 300 years in an effort to stall the new Sith Empire and has gone insane as a result. A bunch of sidequests are revealed to have ultimately ended in despair. The Republic does get some victories within the game storyline, but let's face it, they can't win until they stop updating the game... the best thing they've got is that Republic survival is a Foregone Conclusion.
  • Guild Wars was made up of a series of standalone campaigns. That is, until the Nightfall campaign revealed that there had been a Greater Scope Villain all along, the dark god Abaddon, who had orchestrated all of the evils you had faced. However, according to the official Guild Wars 2 lore, neither Tyria nor Elona has fared too well during the 200 years between games, and while native Canthan humans might be okay, it has grown xenophobic and isolationist in that time. Some of these things were foreshadowed earlier on, however.
    • After the developers decided to make a sequel, they decided to create the Eye of the North expansion to serve as a bit of a thematic bridge. While this ends with you having defeated the villain as well, it's only a servant of the Elder Dragon that would be among the villains to devastate Tyria and become the new BigBads of Guild Wars 2.
    • The Winds of Change event in the latter days of Guild Wars 1 introduced the Ministry of Purity, a ministry of Cantha formed to cleanse the afflicted from the Factions campaign, but whose stated ideology of security over freedom would obviously lead to the isolationist and xenophobic Cantha of Guild Wars 2.
    • Perhaps most notably of all, however, since it was foreshadowed before the decision to make a sequel, was Elona's fate. The only person who had the means to cross the Death World to reach the Big Bad was an unstoppable evil who had been sealed away. Thus, in order to save the world, you have no choice but to release that evil. While it saved the world in the long term, and Elona in the short term, it's not a big surprise to find out that it eventually doomed Elona.
  • Happens in Modern Warfare 2, where Shepherd, Soap, and Price all ask why they fought the last war against the Ultranationalists, if things just became worse afterwards.
    • The older Call of Duty games that take place during World War II all end with the Allies victorious and the fascists defeated, and the endings of the very first game and World at War are pretty highly optimistic about the future. But anyone who knows anything about the Cold War or who played Call of Duty: Black Ops will know that the future is anything but sunshine and rainbows.
  • Similar to Modern Warfare 2, Half-Life ends with Gordon Freeman successfully killing the alien being that prevented the scientists on earth from sealing the portal that spewed forth endless hordes of alien invaders. He gets captured by the G-Man and put into a freezer, but at least Earth is safe. More than a decade later Gordon is brought back to Earth, only to learn that the alien being he killed was just desperate to allow its own people to escape from an even scarier and more powerful alien invasion of its home dimension. With Freeman taking care of their leader, the Combine quickly had the alien world conquered and continued its campaign by invading Earth as well.
  • When Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance ends, the Evil Empire has been defeated, Crimea is entering a new golden age and reestablishing ties with the laguz, and the world is by and large peaceful — even the massive Begnion theocracy seems well at ease with the world. By the time of Radiant Dawn, Crimea is being undermined by greedy nobles (including one who starts an open revolution), Daein (the aforementioned Evil Empire) is completely oppressed by the occupational Begnion forces, and Begnion itself is in the midst of a power struggle between its senate and its empress — and to top it all off, the laguz wind up going to war with Begnion partway through the game. The fact just about the entire world is now at war with someone becomes a plot point. Granted, the ending of Path of Radiance blatantly foreshadowed that things were about to get worse. Thankfully, Radiant Dawn's happy ending sticks for 1200 years.
  • Golden Sun and its continuation ended with the world being saved by the party, everyone from the Doomed Hometown happily surviving, and the Big Bad sinking beneath the earth as a volcano erupted beneath him. 30 years later in Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, the world is made up of several powerful warring nations, most people are unhappy with the protagonists of the previous games saving the world, half the original party just straight up vanished, and to top it all off, magic-eating vortexes have started popping up. OH. And the previous Big Bad is back.
  • Katamari Damacy has a relatively mild example. At the end of the first game, the King announces that the sky is complete, but We ♥ Katamari reveals that actually only the stars immediately around Earth were restored, and there's still a lot of work to do.
  • Kingdom Hearts ends with Sora still looking for a way to find his best friends, but the worlds, at least, seem saved. Then it turns out The Heartless are still plentiful if no longer endangering reality, new enemies are showing up, and the first universe-threatening Big Bad was only one aspect of a greater villain with a very confusing history.
  • Mass Effect: The galaxy is saved! Shepard is hailed as a hero! Humanity becomes an influential member of the council! Until the first minutes of Mass Effect 2, where the Normandy is destroyed, Shepard is killed, his/her crew disbands and the council denies the events of the first game.
  • In MOTHER 1 and EarthBound, humans are fighting the evil alien Giygas, although only the protagonists, a couple of kids, know that it's him that they're fighting, and in the first game, you don't even find that out until very late in the story, but it's All There Is to Know About "The Crying Game" anyway, especially outside of Japan. Giygas, in the first game, is attempting to enslave the entire human race, and his army does some pretty bad stuff. But, the heroes sing a song to him and he goes mad from the nostalgia and gives up on trying to conquer Earth. But, later, although it is only revealed in the second game, Giygas comes back with a vengeance and conquers the entire universe, turning it into a living hell. The End. (Don't worry, someone comes back from that future and stops it from happening in the second game.)
  • Starlancer involves the player thrust into a desperate war between The Alliance and the Coalition on the side of the Alliance. While the Coalition's sneak attack deals a heavy blow to the Alliance, the multiple successes by the player's squadron (including destroying countless enemy ships and the Coalition flagship) seem to indicate that the Alliance may yet prevail. Then Freelancer happens, a game almost completely unrelated to Starlancer except for the intro, which reveals that the Alliance-Coalition war lasted for another century, with the Coalition being the inevitable victor (unless you count the original E3 trailer). There was absolutely no reason to make Freelancer a sequel of Starlancer, as it has completely different gameplay and takes place 900 years later. Not one character or news report in Freelancer mentions either side or the war, despite the intro's emphatic "We will never forget". Thanks for ruining the game, Chris Roberts!
  • Star Trek: Armada ends with The Federation, the Klingons, and the Romulans allying to stop a massive Borg invasion, which is barely stopped and ends on a typical upbeat Trek note. Guess what? The Borg are back in the sequel, stronger than before. The Cardassians also decide to attack the Federation for no reason, even though they should still be devastated from the Dominion War. And Species 8472 randomly decide to wipe out everyone else, despite Janeway earlier convincing them that the Federation means them no harm.
  • There's a certain degree of this in Star Trek Online as well.
    • The Klingon/Federation Alliance, which Kirk's crew fought so hard to establish, is broken (though that was foreshadowed, every live action Star Trek that went that far into the future had the Federation and Klingons on bad terms); the hope of reconciliation with the Romulans that Star Trek: Nemesis ends on is destroyed along with Romulus (although admittedly, that's more due to the Star Trek XI movie); The Mirror Universe is back in the hands of an evil Terran empire; Voyager's defeat of the Borg in the finale (though much later the game revealed that it really did do significant and lasting damage to the Collective) and the tentative peace with Species 8472 are shattered... even one-note villains like the Breen and Devidians are up in arms. The only thing that hasn't been completely destroyed from the series is the establishment of Democracy on Cardassia, but there are a lot of left over villains from DS9 who are set on destroying that one, too. (This isn't necessarily a bad thing for an MMORPG setting, however, and the fall seems to make logical sense if you read the backstory of the intervening 30 years.)
    • The Legacy of Romulus free expansion/season/thingy partly overrode the Star Trek XI and related overriding of the Nemesis Romulan reconciliation hope — there is no real chance of a reconciliation with the Romulan Star Empire after the events of the game... but the rising Romulan Republic (which by the end of their storyline is well on their way to being the single strongest faction in what used to be Romulan space) is quite conciliated and is in fact even allies with the Federation (and the Klingons. They are neutral on the Federation-Klingon War until later plot developments that make it a moot point).
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker reveals in the opening credits that after Hyrule is saved in Ocarina of Time, eventually Ganondorf is freed and Link does not arrive to save the day, causing the world to become lost, and the land flooded by the gods. And then in its climax; it's revealed that the King sacrificed the Triforce and Hyrule to prevent Link and Zelda from being eternally reborn and forced to fight the same battle over and over again, and let them have their own existence. It couldn't last. In the subsequent installments, Ganon may not be back, but Link and Zelda are back in the same roles.
    • The prequel to the series as a whole, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, makes the Wind Waker timeline's situation even more dire, since Ganon is merely the symptom, not the disease; killing him and destroying Hyrule forever didn't lift Demise's curse from Link's bloodline, and so incarnations of the demon king's hate will continue to haunt Link's descendants unless the curse is somehow broken. All killing Ganon accomplished was severing the curse's connection to the Triforce and losing the Master Sword, the most powerful weapon of good in the world, forever.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess:
      • The game overrides many of the hopeful overtures of Zelda's decision to return Link to his original time. She had obviously intended for him to regain his lost years and live his life in peace. If The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask hadn't already obliterated any delusions of that happening, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess went a step further to confirm his lifelong Chronic Hero Syndrome, having him appear as the Hero's Shade and a mentor to the new Hero. The fact that he contributed to a thriving bloodline meant that he eventually settled down enough to have a family, but he still lingered for more than a century in the afterlife out of regret for his lost title.
      • There is also the fate of Ganondorf, arrested and sentenced to execution for attempting to usurp the throne. Seems foolproof, given that Zelda sent Link back to a point before Ganondorf got his hands on the Triforce, and thusly before gaining its powers. Except, as it turns out, he does have the Triforce of Power for an unexplained reason (even the game references how there is no explainable reason for how he has it), and with its power, survives the execution attempt, killing one of the sages before the others, in a last-ditch effort, manage to banish him to the Twilight Realm, which only delays and alters his eventual plot to conquer Hyrule.
  • After settling down with Rosemary and his son John in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Raiden is now working as a PMC in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance due to the fact that his cyborg body looked too unnatural for him to find civilian work.
  • The ending of Tales of Itzkeria is pretty happy - Itzka and his friends defeat the evil (Or is he?) Darius, ending his guild and his ambitions of world domination. Conveniently, the Emperor gets a heart attack, and Itzka is appointed as his successor, finally bringing peace to the land! Aside from the unfortunate implication that Laura will die soon due to her accelerated aging, as revealed in the true ending there is nothing to indicate the finale is anything but happy. Jump forward to the sequel, where it's revealed that, within 20 years, Itzka has become a ruthless dictator who's not above burning cities (ironic, considering the burning of his hometown jump-started the plot of the first game) and slaughtering all inside just because they dared to oppose him.
  • All those Alien Wars you've been fighting for the majority of the Contra series and winning? As of Contra: Shattered Soldier, it turns out that the war was actually part of a Government Conspiracy known as the Triumvirate, and that Lance Bean had accidentally uncovered the truth about it. Hence the fact that Lance became a notorious terrorist leader trying to overthrow the Triumvirate after Bill Rizer was thought to have killed Lance and destroyed 80% of the world's population.
  • The ending of Dead Space 3 gives hope in a bittersweet ending, where Isaac and Carver disappear, but the source of the Marker signals, the Brother Moon, is slain. Its expansion, Dead Space 3: Awakened, reveals that while Isaac and Carver survived, the Moon they killed still awoke the rest of its kind, and managed to successfully delay them from warning Earth in time, and have already arrived ahead of them and begun to feed on humanity. And when Isaac and Carver arrive, a Brother Moon looms over their ship, attacking their minds, before the credits roll.
  • Warcraft was an early example of this; the Orc and Human campaigns seemed to be treated as alternate universes; on the one hand, the Humans prevailed and defeated the Orcish Horde. On the other, the Orcs razed Stormwind Keep and killed the human king. Tides of Darkness', the sequel, revealed the Orc campaign was made canon. Tides Of Darkness was itself treated similarly; this time the expansion, Beyond the Dark Portal, revealed the Alliance victory to be the canonical one. (Blizzard would switch tactics with StarCraft and abandon this technique entirely for WarCraft III, wherein they actually subvert their earlier use of the trope by clarifying that elements from both Horde and Alliance campaigns from the previous games happened—for example, the death of Medivh (Human in I) and Gul'dan's betrayal (Horde in II)—but the Orc ending mission for I and the Alliance ending mission for II canceled out the opposing side.)
  • A downplayed example in the Dragon Age franchise; while the main ending in Dragon Age: Origins doesn't get cancelled (the Archdemon stays dead and Ferelden still survives), a lot of the improvements you can potentially bring to other problems in the story will inevitably be made meaningless to not get in the way of the story. Most notably, if a Mage Warden managed to get more freedom for the Circle of Magi, this will inevitably turn out to be a failure, since one of the main plot-points in Dragon Age II is a Mage-Templar war.
  • Shin Megami Tensei II was rather brutal to the ending of its predecessor, revealing that the peace its hero brought lasted only ten years before it was overthrown, and he himself assassinated, by the forces of the Lawful Evil Archangels. II's ending appears to stick for its own timeline, except possibly for the main character, as a person resembling him showed up in another timeline, claiming to have been hit with a seriously nasty curse.
  • In Final Fantasy VII, while it's implied all of humanity is extinct in the far future, Cloud resolved all of his personal issues and rebuilt his mind, become honest with himself about his flaws and insecurities, and gained a strong and intentionally funny personality. Come ''Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children', and Cloud is severely depressed, having strange episodes again and alienating the friends he'd long since learned how to rely on.
  • Inverted by Freespace Silent Threat, though for more-or-less the same reasons as this trope usually comes into play (conflict and chaos requires there being people around who can get involved into conflicts) — at the end of the original game, the narrator makes clear the expectation is that the Shivans will destroy what's left of the Terran-Vasudan colonial empires, and that's what been won is a reprieve for the now isolated Solar system. Come the expansion, and it turns out that the Lucifer's destruction had a far greater impact on Shivan coherence than expected, and that the remaining Terran-Vasudan forces in the colonies are actually winning the war.
  • At the end of Strider, Hiryu has defeated the god-complex Grandmaster Meio and put a stop to his plan to erradicate all life on Earth to repopulate it with his own created humanity. Then comes the sequel and Meio has not only survived the encounter, but in the 2000-year interval between games he was able to complete his plan, and the world is now populated by a new humanity that worships him as their creator and have turned Earth into a polluted, disease and war-ridden wreck on the verge of self-destruction
  • X-COM:
    • The first game ends with humanity defeating the aliens, taking all their stuff, and blasting into space. The second game steps on that last part and sets us against a different bunch of aliens that was lurking on Earth the whole time. Then the third game is set in an extremely advanced and self-sufficient megalopolis - built that way because the defeat of those other aliens blew the Earth's environment into tatters. At the same time, though, both Interceptor and background material reveals that, while Earth is still the center of human activity, it is no longer the only bastion of humanity. Mars has been settled, and there are a number of colonies in a far-off region of space called the Frontier. This means that humanity's contact with the aliens allowed us to, eventually, spread through space.
    • The successor series averts this, though; the Vichy Earth situation from XCOM 2 flows from the Game Over scenario of the previous opus rather than the victorious one.
    • The Spiritual Sequel series UFO: Afterblank is just weird: the second game is based on the first game's Bad Ending, but it went horribly wrong for the bad guys, so it's cool.
  • The GDI campaign in Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun ends with a new medical treatment for the female lead and the Cool Ship flying into the sunset. The expansion campaign has the ship crashed and wrecked and the treatment backfiring badly.
  • The best ending of Silent Hill ends with Harry and Cybil defeating the cult's God and escaping the town with a reincarnation of Cheryl in hopes of living a better life, an easter egg from the game's intro also implies that Cybil and Harry formed a family together. Jump to Silent Hill 3, Cybil is missing ever since the first game, Harry dies shortly after the prologue, the reincarnation of Cheryl/Alessa is being stalked by the cult and she still has the God feeding on her hatred within her.
  • Portal actually had a new ending patched in to justify Chell being the star of the sequel. Instead of successfully escaping, she is literally dragged back in by a robot and locked away in one of the hypersleep chambers.
  • Persona 3 ends with deuteragonist Aigis a bit saddened but accepting the protagonist's Heroic Sacrifice, finding a purpose in life and smiling at the rest of her friends as the hero dies in her arms. In the epilogue The Answer, added as part of the Updated Re-release, the protagonist's demise was apparently completely unexpected, and Aigis seems to have lost herself since. The rest of the group is depressed and irritable, torn asunder after the hero's passing.
  • At the end of Pokemon Black And White, the player character managed to defeat Team Plasma, foil Ghetsis's true plans, and make N realize that humans and Pokémon can coexist together. Come Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 and Team Plasma has returned, now divided into two factions. While the old Team Plasma is making amends for what they did in the previous games, the new Team Plasma throws out the liberating Pokémon aspect and embodies world domination/destruction. Also, Ghetsis has returned, leading the new Team Plasma, has captured Kyurem, and plans on using it to freeze the world and take every Pokémon for himself.
  • Every Leisure Suit Larry sequel negates the ending of the previous game in some manner, such as the Final Girl jilting or backstabbing Larry, or his memory being erased, as is the case between 3 and 5.
  • Inverted in Scarface: The World is Yours. At the end of the original film, Tony had lost everyone close to him, his drug empire was in ruins, and he himself was killed in a last stand against Alejandro Sosa's minions. In The World Is Yours, he survives the attack on his mansion, spends three months recovering from his cocaine addiction, and returns to take back his empire and get revenge on all of the people who crossed him in the past.
  • The Baldur's Gate Saga escalates in a conflict where you must prevent the dark god Bhaal's resurrection. After you slay the Big Bad you get the option to either take Bhaal's place and become a god or ditch it an stay mortal. Either way the game very much states that Bhaal is gone for good. He suddenly returned in 2015 with the 5th Edition, meaning that all your hard work simply delayed his resurrection with a few hundred years.
  • Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island ended with the Baby Mario Bros. finally reunited and brought to their parents, and it was a rather touching ending... which Yoshis New Island proceeds to ruin by claiming that the "silly stork" brought the babies to the wrong house. Cue Sequel Reset.
  • In Valkyria Chronicles, Welkin and Squad 7 managed to defeat Maximilian, destroy the Marmota, and drive The Empire out of Gallia. In addition, Princess Cordelia was revealed to be a Darscen rather than a Valkyrur, which would suggest that better treatment for Darscens would begin. Two years later, in Valkyria Chronicles II, it turns out that Cordelia's decision to make her Darscen heritage public had caused a rift between the people of Gallia, with the faction that opposes her forming the Gallia Revolutionary Army, throwing the country into another war while also hunting Darscens and creating Artificial Valkyria.
  • Flashback initially ends on a bittersweet note, with the Morphs' home planet blown up but Conrad Hart adrift in space with little hope of rescue. The sequel, Fade to Black, reveals that the Morphs took over Earth during Conrad's 50-year cryosleep.
  • Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time ends with the Prince successfully undoing the events of the game by using the hourglass to rewind time. Prince of Persia: Warrior Within takes place seven years after and we learn that doing so he disturbed the flow of time and has been hunted by a creature called the Dahaka. Also the Prince has become a much more self-centered and violent person. The interquels Battles of Prince of Persia and Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands provide some context of how all of this happen.

    Web Originals 
  • Improbable Island. Defeated the Improbability Drive, did you? Great! Now you get to do it again six times, after having discovered that the drive permanently mutated your body.
  • Atop the Fourth Wall. After Linkara defeats his evil robot counterpart (actually Pollo from another universe), it's revealed that Mechakara wasn't the only one who escaped into Linkara's universe. And the other person who did? Lord Vyce, an all-powerful Multiversal Conqueror who makes Mechakara look weak by comparison. But at least Linkara is able to defeat Vyce. Except THEN he learns that the reason Vyce was out conquering universes is to protect them from The Entity, an Eldritch Abomination bent on consuming entire universes and make everyone in them disappear forever.
    • Lewis stated in an interview that he wanted to keep invoking this trope with bigger and bigger threats, but couldn't come up with anything stronger than a god, so he switched to character-driven story arcs instead.

    Western Animation 
  • Beast Wars ended with the Maximals successfully capturing Megatron and taking him back to Cybertron, with him tied to the roof of their spaceship. However, in Beast Machines, it's revealed that Megatron has been able to successfully take over Cybertron, in large part because he was left outside the spaceship note .
    • Originally, had there been a fourth season of Transformers Animated, their version of Megatron would have escaped from prison (he is arrested at the end of the show's final episode), possibly with help from Team Chaar, and been reformatted into a Triple Changer.
  • The ending of Osmosis Jones has Frank turn his life around and adopt a healthier lifestyle, and we see him spending time outdoors with his daughter. In Ozzy and Drix, on the other hand, Frank is once again an obese slob, suggesting that either he has relapsed back into unhealthy habits, Ozzy and Drix is a prequel to Osmosis Jones, or Ozzy and Drix is an Alternate Continuity, and if the latter, then Frank will be killed by Thrax.
  • Combined with Chronic Villainy when it comes to the Vreedle Brothers in the Ben 10 franchise. At the end of their final appearance in Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, they had reformed and become students at the Plumber Academy. Come Ben 10: Omniverse, we learn that since then, they ended up blowing up the Plumber Academy and went back to being thugs.
  • Downplayed in The Legend of Korra regarding the original Team Avatar. They defeated the Fire Nation, are revered as heroes well into the new age, and went on to have very eventful lives. However, their kids still have issues from having parents with such huge legacies and responsibilities. Tenzin's siblings feel he got the bulk of Aang's attention due to being an airbender, and Lin has more than a few choice words for Toph when they finally meet again.
  • In the lead-up to Toonami's The Intruder II event, a comic was released that depicted The Intruder being fended off by TOM 4. Week 5 of the event proper has the Intruder gloating about killing TOM 4.
  • Played for Laughs in the course of The Simpsons with Homer's half-brother Herb Powell, an auto manufacturer who was ruined and reduced to abject poverty in one of the earliest seasons after he allowed Homer to design the new car for that year...but then made his fortune back by inventing a "baby translator" to help mothers understand their babies. Many years later, the Simpsons pay him another call...and get a message on his answering machine announcing that he's broke again.
  • At the end of the The Fairly Oddparents TV Movie Channel Chasers, Timmy learns that he will have to one day grow up and part ways with Cosmo and Wanda, but that he can still cherish the time he has with them. We're then treated to a Distant Finale that shows an adult Timmy and his two children Tommy and Tammy, who are shown to have Cosmo and Wanda as fairy godparents. In 2011's A Fairly Odd Movie: Grow Up, Timmy Turner!, however, it turns out that this Character Development for Timmy was thrown out the window in favor of having him live his life exactly the same way he did as a kid, including still having Cosmo and Wanda, even though he should've parted ways with them upon becoming an adult. In a more meta sense of the trope, the events of the live-action movies also overrode the ending to Channel Chasers, retconning the entire ending out of existence in favor of this future.